Hudson Valley Fire Chief Indicted
A local fire chief has been indicted on charges he collected more than $90,000 in pension funds illegally. According to a Department of Justice press release, Newburgh Chief Michael Vatter faces felony charges of falsifying retirement system records.
Vatter filled various roles with the Newburgh Fire Department from 1980-2000 at which point he retired. He moved on and practiced law for around 5 years after graduating from law school in 2004. 2009 saw his return to the Department, only this time as chief.
When Vatter retired initially in 2000, his fire department pension kicked in. The problem arose when he returned to the force, he didn't properly notify the retirement system of his increased earnings. There is a cap of 30,000 in earnings per year in order to keep your full pension otherwise you are considered un-retired. Vatter allegedly failed to report these earnings from 2009-2014 and now stands accused of improperly collecting $95,106.
Assistant Fire Chief Terry Ahlers takes over as acting chief. The arraignment is in a few days and Vatter plans to plead 'not guilty'.